found it: first speech synthesizer (at least, for S-100 systems)

Chris Zach cz at
Wed Dec 16 15:33:17 CST 2020

Was that the Federal Screw Works one? I had one on a pdp8/I way back 
when and it was cute, but by that time the Votrax on a chip was out so 
it was more of a curiousity.

I think Don Hopkins screwed a Votrax onto a Sun2's serial bus so it 
would chatter phonemes as he used the system.


On 12/16/2020 4:05 PM, Christian Kennedy via cctech wrote:
> On 12/16/20 12:35 PM, Bob Smith via cctech wrote:
>> We had a Votrax in our lab at DEC around that time, we set it up with
>> a photo detector to trigger a phrase when someone walked by. IIRC
>> programing the sounds used a phoneme library... that was fun figuring
>> out before we finally got the manual!!
> Yep; it was all phoneme based, which made puzzling out how to use it
> interesting.  Ours had an effective upper limit of speed at which you
> could pipe serial data at it before it suffered a buffer overrun; you
> could tell when that happened because it would, for want of a better
> term, start to wail (it would occasionally do that on reset as well).
> Interesting piece of kit; IIRC it arrived as an encapsulated brick with
> wires hanging out...

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